The Awakening

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- Diaporama

The Awakening

Edward Steichen (1879-1973)

The Awakening, also called the Nymph Echo, is known to exist in plaster versions, now in the Musée Rodin, and as a marble dating from 1902 whose present whereabouts are unknown. Inspired by Ovid’s Metamorphoses, the sculpture represents a young woman seated on a rock and stretching voluptuously.

Edward Steichen photographed The Awakening twice, from an almost identical angle but playing on very different lighting effects. The first shot shows the work in unvaried light with all the details of the sculpture clearly visible, while this second photograph is an against-the-light view. Although a piece of fabric has been placed at the studio window in an attempt to soften the light, it is still so bright that it transforms the sculpture into a silhouette and all the details have vanished. With its suggestion of early morning, the lighting serves as a metaphorical illustration, heightening the impression created by the title of the work. This suggests that Steichen only produced his first, classical-style photograph in order to attempt a bolder―and truer―interpretation of The Awakening in the second.

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Dimensions :

H. 25 cm; W. 20 cm

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© Musée Rodin